Fighters – Drop Your Hips!

September 13, 2015 in SanShou, Sanshou - Tip of the Month

How does dropping the hips (your center) help a Fighter?

Punching

Without a doubt, you need to drop your hips if you want to throw more powerful punches. Dropping the hips will ground you, giving you more balance and power. On the other hand, lifting the hips will make you lighter and decrease your balance and power. Raising your hips during a punch will make your punch less powerful and also leave you vulnerable to being pushed off balance.

Defending

Dropping your hips while defending can help you ground so that you don’t get pushed off balance. If you’ve fought a trained fighter before, you might notice that they become very heavy when blocking your punches. And that sometimes you even felt like you were being pushed back when you threw at their guard. They’re able to push you back because they were heavier than you were. You can become heavier while blocking by dropping your hips so you can push back your opponent using his own arm.

Moving

Dropping your hips while moving will make you more grounded, allowing you to move with more balance and control. Being more grounded allows you to change directions easily if needed, and always be ready to attack or defend. On the other hand, floating above the ground leaves you vulnerable to being pushed off balance and you can’t attack or defend.

How to Drop the Hips

Many people misunderstand what it means to “drop the hips”. They think it means lowering the hips and so they end up bending their knees too much and taking too long to throw the punch. The right way is to drop your hips slightly just as you land a punch, or drop the hips right as you block a punch, or right as you move.
  1. First release the hips
    • Relax your hip muscles the same way that you relax your arm at the initial phase of a punch.
    • The hips are being relaxed as you exhale during the movement (for a punch, block, or footwork).
  2. Catch the hips
    • “Catching the hips” means to tighten your hips for a split second right at the end of the release.
    • You tighten your hip muscles for just a split second right at the moment of impact (the same way you tighten your fist at impact).
  3. Use very little energy and very little movement
    • It’s about relaxing and releasing more so than it is about tensing and tightening.
    • The hip drops maybe an inch or a centimeter at most, it shouldn’t be an actual “drop” that you can see.
    • The moment of tension is only for a split second.

Exercises to help you drop the hips

Drills to try:

  • Jumping rope without “jumping” your hips too high.
  • Slipping and rolling punches without lifting the hips.
  • Shadowboxing without letting the hips gets too high. (Watch how Pacquiao shadowboxes, you will see that he always appears to be pulled down to the ground. He moves quickly, but doesn’t fly off the ground).
  • Do footwork drills while focusing on keeping the hips heavy.

Common mistakes

Many people think dropping the hips should mean to feel as much weight as possible in their hips. This visualization can be incorrect as they relax the hips too much that it shakes around and doesn’t connect to the core. Or that the hip becomes too loose that it’s always tilted forward, backwards, or sideways, which reduces balance and power. You should also be careful that the “drop” is simply the release of the hips. It doesn’t mean to actually try and lower your hips to the ground or to walk around with constantly bent knees. Your knees should be slightly flexed but not bent to the point that it’s tiring to stand.

The ultimate goal of “dropping the hips”

Learning how to drop the hips is something that takes time to master. Beginners will end up using a lot of energy or a lot of movement with very little effect. Whereas a skilled fighter can drop his hips even just a centimeter and generate so much more power out of it. Advanced fighters might not seem to move at all, but I can assure you, they are creating power within their body! The best punchers will be able to punch without lifting their hips, and can even throw multiple punches without lifting their hips. When done right, you will feel like dropping your hips gives you faster power because your hips are always grounded to punch. Whereas if you lift your hips during punches, you have to wait until your hips come back down in order to punch again. Dropping the hips isn’t only going to make you a better boxer; it’s going to make you a better athlete. You will be a phenomenal mover and power generator in any sport you choose to do as long as you learn how to keep your hips grounded. Jump, run, move, and twist your body any way you want…as long as you drop your hips! Quote Of The Month
"We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training. Bleed on the floor, not on the streets”
“Train Hard, Train Smart” Sigung Patrick Finneran
Profile photo of Patrick Finneran

Article written by SiGung Patrick Finneran

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